India for Disabled

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

I am Poonam Rose Abraham and I am from Pala. I completed my graduation in BA English Literature from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

I completed a 45 days course in content writing conducted by Prajaahita foundation. I am looking forward to work in the field of writing so I can pin down thoughts I have into words and make a mark here.



Poonam Rose Abraham

poonamchittettu@gmail.com


India for Disabled

"Disability need not to be an obstacle to success. We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and expertise to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities. Governments throughout the world can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education, and employment, and never get the chance to shine ", stated Stephen Hawking to the World Report on Disability 2011.


India still lags behind other countries when it comes to putting an end to infrastructural, institutional, and attitudinal barriers for persons with disabilities.


There are 2.68 crores (2.21%) of people with disabilities in India according to the census of 2011. This includes people with visual impairment (18.8%), hearing and speech impairment (18.9%), mentally retarded (5.6%), locomotive and other movement disabilities (20.3%) disabled due to accidents, and many more.




People with disabilities are treated with different attitudes by society. It depends on the regions and their sub-cultures. In some parts of rural areas where people are ignorant and nescient; disability is considered wicked or a curse. A disabled person in urban regions is seen more like a charity or is sympathized on pity which is a misdeed because a differently- abled person might be confined to one disability but is blasted with other abilities.


A family with a disabled child composes additional stress. Some families tend to deny the evidence of the disability in their child due to the powerful social and personal forces. These children will be deprived of a good education and the possibility of a bright future. As a result, the child may resent the parents, but being dependent upon them the child will be forced to suppress his/her blame which produces self-hostility, guilt, anxiety, and

depression.


Issues faced by disability between genders also differ. Just like any woman in India, women and girls with disabilities are also at greater risk of being abused physically, sexually, and mentally than disabled men. Girls with disabilities often face discrimination in family and society and even in educational institutions.


In India, 1.7 percent of the child population consists of children with disabilities of many types. Among this three-fourth at the age of 5 and one-fourth between the age of 6-19 do not go to any educational institutions. In those who attend schools, the ratio of disabled girls to that of disabled boys is fewer in number. According to UNESCO report, apart from the frame of mind of parents and teachers towards including the children with disabilities into the mainstream education to accomplish the goal of inclusive education; accessible to physical infrastructure, processes in the school, assistive and ICT technology and devices and other factors also play a vital role in dropping out of schools of disabled children.


Infrastructure in India is not disabled -friendly in many places. Assistive technology is something that supports people with disabilities with assistance and rehabilitative devices. It increases the functional capabilities of the individual with disabilities. Other than the metro in urban areas none of India's public transport systems is capable of disable friendly. Even if a disabled person visits an accessible area it's not easy for them to visit a particular area. Only 11% of architects in India are aware of the designs and information that is used for accessibility design for the disabled.


Another main concern of the people with disabilities in India is about employment opportunities. There is a wide gap between the employment rate of people with and without disabilities in the country. 74% of people with physical disabilities and 94% of persons with mental retardation are unemployed. Many disabled persons are intellectual and can be productive employees if they could be placed with appropriate jobs.


Government schemes


India has a long road ahead in becoming a disabled-friendly county. The first step is to change the approach from "charity - based"to a"rights-based" approach. With the doors opened to the internet and technologies, the country is all set to take small steps to make things possible for a disabled person to lead an easier life.


Disability certificates from a medical board constituted at the state or district level, creating a National Database for PwDs, and to issue a Unique Disability Identity card(UDID) to each person with disabilities encouraged transparency, efficiency, and ease for the government to deliver benefits to persons with disabilities. It also ensures uniformity. The project will also play an important part in tracking the physical and financial progress of beneficiaries at all levels of the hierarchy of implementation from village level, block level, District level, State level ,and National level.


The Government of India has enhanced the educational reforms for the disabled in the last two decades. Along with Article21A of the Indian Constitution which guarantees fundamental rights to education, section 26 of the Person with Disability Act (PWD) of 1995 claims- free and compulsory education to children with disabilities until the age of 18 years. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is India's flagship program for achieving Universalisation of Elementary Education(UEE) which aims for free and compulsory education for disabled children of age 6-14. At present, there are about 3000 special schools for differently- abled children across the country.


A visually challenged person can use audiobooks to learn. An online library where books are made available in different accessible formats for people with visual impairment and other print disabilities has been announced with 'Sugamya Pustakalaya' by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. This library is aligned with SSA. With new surgical interventions and with the help of hearing aids and other pioneering technologies deafness can be curable to some extent.


Accessible India Campaign (SugamayaBharat Abhiyan) is an initiative launched by the government to raise awareness on accessibility for wheelchair users and other disabled people. The program focuses on making 50% of all government buildings in all nations and states capitals fully accessible for the disabled by July 2018 Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index is an index to access companies across public and private sectors for disabled-friendly initiatives.


The Scheme of Assistance to Disabled Persons for purchasing/fitting of aids and appliances (ADIP) has been in operation since 1981. The main objective of this scheme is to assist disabled people in procuring durable, sophisticated, and scientifically manufactured ,standard aids, and appliances that can improve their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the effect of the disabilities and magnifying their financial potential. National institutions under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment , NGOs and other agencies have taken initiative to implement this scheme in the country.


The Person with Disability Act, 1995 has been replaced by The Rights of Personwith Disability Act 2016, where the previous Act only included seven disabilities; as the latter includes more than 15 types of disabilities. 4% of employment is reserved in specific categories in the Government sector for a person with at least 40% of a disability. With the new Act it is unlawful to discriminate against a person against his/ her disability unless it is proved the discrimination is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim in private establishments.


Smart City missions by the government can create a great opportunity to ensure inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in the workplace, neighborhood activities, and in their social life. The objectives of the mission are to safeguard access to roads and transportation, create an accessible website and governmental portals or community engagement platforms, and digital technology for mobile applications, products, and services. Design of disables friendly parks, playgrounds and accessible schools , colleges, hospitals, public toilets, etc can help improve the life of a disabled person in the country. As Mohamed Jemni said ," The Disability is not the problem. The accessibility is the problem".



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